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Richard Dawkins backs statement on women’s sex-based rights

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Richard Dawkins(Photo: YouTube/RTE)

Noted biologist and secular humanist Richard Dawkins has urged followers to back a statement decrying the gender identity movement and the use of puberty blockers on children through his widely followed Twitter account.

The author of The God Delusion posted a series of tweets to his account this week, including a link to the “Declaration on Women’s Sex-based Rights,” a document he said he had signed.

According to its website, the declaration “challenges the discrimination we experience from the replacement of the category of sex with that of ‘gender identity.’” The declaration was organized by the United Kingdom-based Women’s Human Rights Campaign, which describes itself as a “group of volunteer women from across the globe dedicated to protecting women’s sex-based rights.”

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The declaration opposes the performing of gender reassignment surgery or usage of puberty blockers on children and laws that define the term “mother” to include someone who is not biologically female. The declaration expresses support for rights based on sexual orientation.

“The concept of ‘gender identity’ is increasingly used to ‘gender reassign’ children who do not conform to sex stereotypes, or who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria,” the declaration reads. “Medical interventions that carry a high risk of long-term adverse consequences on the physical or psychological health of a child, such as the use of puberty suppressing hormones, cross-sex hormones, and surgery, are used on children who are not developmentally competent to give full, free and informed consent.”

The document also voices displeasure with the replacing of “references to the category of sex … with the language of gender” in “United Nations documents, strategies, and actions.” The declaration contends that such changes have “led to confusion which ultimately risks undermining the protection of women’s human rights.”

“The confusion between sex and ‘gender’ has contributed to the increasing acceptability of the idea of innate ‘gender identities’, and has led to the promotion of a right to the protection of such’ identities’, ultimately leading to the erosion of the gains made by women over decades,” the declaration maintains.

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The declaration has been signed by over 26,000 people in over 153 countries, the Women’s Human Rights Campaign claims.

In his tweets this week, Dawkins expressed support for Kathleen Stock, a British philosophy professor who recently resigned from the University of Sussex following protests over her critical views of gender identity.

“I didn’t know of #KathleenStock until her tar-&-feathering prompted me (among many, as sales figures show) to read Material Girls. So far excellent. Refreshingly sensible,” tweeted Dawkins on Sunday about Stock’s book.

“Kathleen Stock is wonderfully sensible. If her arguments seem laboured, it’s because she’s daily surrounded by obscurantist logomachists,” Dawkins added in a tweet posted Wednesday.

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“They, sadly, are paid to harangue students who feel obliged to take them seriously. Dear students, please refresh your minds with science.”

In April, Dawkins garnered controversy for posting a tweet that compared trans-identified individuals to Rachel Dolezal, a white former NAACP chapter leader who made headlines in 2015 for publicly identifying as black.

In response to the Dolezal comparison, the American Humanist Association withdrew its Humanist of the Year Award awarded to Dawkins in 1996.

“Dawkins has over the past several years accumulated a history of making statements that use the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalized groups, an approach antithetical to humanist values,” stated the AHA.

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“His latest statement implies that the identities of transgender individuals are fraudulent, while also simultaneously attacking Black identity as one that can be assumed when convenient. His subsequent attempts at clarification are inadequate and convey neither sensitivity nor sincerity.”

Courtesy of The Christian Post

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This Chinese Church Escaped Persecution, But Now Fears Being Returned to China

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01/26/2022 South Korea (International Christian Concern) – With thanks to an interview conducted by Radio Free Asia (RFA), we have learned that the members of the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church are due to have their appeal for asylum heard by South Korean courts, following an initial rejection by the lower courts last year.

As many may recall, the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church, often referred to as the ‘Mayflower Church’ for its resemblance to those seeking religious freedom on the Mayflower voyage to the US, has been taking refuge on South Korea’s Jeju island since 2019. The unregistered church had begun to face harassment from Chinese government officials and police, as running a church outside of the Chinese regulations is against Chinese law and religious guidelines. In an attempt for a better life for themselves and their children, a contingent of the congregation voted to leave China. However, after two years, their South Korean host has soured on their presence.

The congregation’s initial applications for asylum were rejected, and their appeal is expected to be heard by South Korea’s higher courts soon. If the congregation is denied by the Korean courts, they will be on a short timeline to leave Korea or they will be living there illegally and fearing a possible removal back to China.

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The expected outcome of this congregation’s case remains uncertain, as Chinese nationals are rarely approved for asylum status in South Korea. Some allege this to a result of the South Korean government’s weariness of their communist neighbor – to accept refugee from China would be seen as a direct slight against the regional superpower. The congregation must also demonstrate a significant threat, and when dealing with a nation like China, the threatening party has a tight control on the information. Given that the global community is preparing to tune in for the Beijing Olympics next month, it can be assumed that the world has not fully come to terms with the scale of persecution in China.

Christians are among many of the religious groups in China facing regular and often harsh religious persecution. Under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping, China continues to demonstrate an open hostility toward religious minorities, meaning that victims of persecution will continue to climb. Should this congregation be returned, it is expected that the CCP will have a close eye on them, if they are not punished for their alleged crime. While the status of the Mayflower Church in Korea remains undecided, we should not assume these Christians are out of options, as other Christian groups have heard their call for help. RFA has reported that this group has also applied for asylum in the US, however, there has been no comment on the situation further.

For questions, please contact: [email protected].

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Religious freedom violations persist in Iran

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(Photo: Getty/iStock)

Christians continue to suffer as a result of widespread religious freedom abuses in Iran, human rights organisations have warned. 

A new joint report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Article 18, Middle East Concern and Open Doors International found that violations persisted in Iran in 2021, with at least 59 Christians arrested over the course of the year.

Thirty Christians endured some form of imprisonment last year while 34 were detained by the authorities. 

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At least 209 individuals were affected by judicial rulings, 35 of whom reported “intense psychological torture”.

The actual numbers are likely to be higher as many cases go unreported “either because no-one raises awareness — arresting authorities frequently issue threats to prevent publicity — or because those involved request confidentiality”, the organisations warned. 

The report notes some positive developments. In November, the Supreme Court said that the prison sentences of nine converts should be reviewed because “promoting Christianity and ‘Zionist evangelism’ in private homes is not an example of gathering and collusion against internal or external security as decided in the original verdict”.

“According to this decree, house-church activities and the promotion even of the pejoratively termed ‘Zionist’ Christianity are not crimes,” the report said.

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“It remains to be seen how this ruling will be applied by the Revolutionary courts, but the Christians have at least since been released while their cases are reviewed.”

In another positive development, officials in the western city of Dezful decided not to press charges against eight Christian converts on the grounds that although apostasy is a crime under Sharia, it is not an offence according to the laws of Iran.

Despite these positive developments, the report warned of “inconsistencies” in the Iranian judicial system after the Supreme Court rejected the appeal of a Christian couple sentenced to 10 years in prison over their involvement in a house church.

“The differing decisions highlight the inconsistencies that plague the judicial system in Iran and suggest that favourable rulings reflect the views of individual judges rather than systemic improvements at the heart of the judiciary,” the report said. 

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Recommendations in the report include a call to the Iranian government to uphold freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all citizens, and the release of Christians detained on “spurious charges” relating to their faith or religious activities. 

The report also calls for an end to the criminalisation of house church organisation and membership, and asks the international community to hold Iran accountable on FoRB by raising the issue during political and trade discussions involving the country. 

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “Once again, this report provides an important reminder of the continuing violations faced by Christians in Iran.

“We urge the Iranian government to take heed of its recommendations and to end what amounts to the criminalisation of the practice of a religion the Iranian constitution claims to recognise.

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“We also call for the government to ensure that all citizens, including members of the Baha’i, Gonabadi Dervishe, Humanist and Sunni communities, are free to enjoy the full right to freedom of religion or belief as articulated in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory.”

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